Fun Nilgiri Wood Pigeon Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Oct 20, 2022 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Interesting Nilgiri wood pigeon facts for everyone.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

The Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) is a pigeon species that belongs to the order Columbiformes. The old scientific name of this bird was Ptilinopus elphinstonii. This pigeon is endemic to the Nilgiri forest range in southwestern India. It prefers different types of moist forests and other forests in India. The Nilgiri wood pigeon's habitat ranges from north-western Maharashtra to southern Kerala and western Tamil Nadu, India. Its food mainly consists of fruits and small invertebrates, such as snails.

The Nilgiri wood pigeon most closely resembles the domestic pigeon. It has dark gray-colored feathers and a large body. Females have darker crowns than Nilgiri wood pigeon males. One of the most distinctive features of this pigeon is its checkerboard pattern. Another one is its distinctive low-frequency call which is similar to the sound of a langur. The breeding season of this species is from March to July in the Western Ghats of India. Their population is Vulnerable, according to the Red List of IUCN.

You can also check out interesting facts about other birds species such as dove facts and rook facts.

Nilgiri Wood Pigeon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Nilgiri wood pigeon?

The Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) is a pigeon species found only in India that belongs to the order Columbiformes.

What class of animal does a Nilgiri wood pigeon belong to?

The Nilgiri wood pigeon, Columba elphinstonii, is a large pigeon that belongs to the class Aves and order Columbiformes.

How many Nilgiri wood pigeons are there in the world?

There are nearly 35 species in the genus Columba (mid to large-sized pigeons). The population size of these Nilgiri woodpigeons is between 3,500-15,000 individual birds around the world.

Where does a Nilgiri wood pigeon live?

Nilgiri wood pigeons, Columba elphinstonii or Ptilinopus elphinstonii, are endemic to the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills of southwestern India. Although it mainly survives among hills, sometimes they are found at a lower altitude range of distribution within the Western Ghats. Few populations thrive in the high altitudes of the peninsula including Nandi Hills and Biligirirangan Hills near Bangalore.

What is a Nilgiri wood pigeon's habitat?

The habitat distribution of the Nilgiri woodpigeon includes tropical and subtropical forests, moist evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, tropical and subtropical moist montane forests, foothill forests, moist deciduous forests, shola forests, densely wooded ravines, and plantations. The Nilgiri wood pigeon bird's distribution range extends from northwestern Maharashtra to southern Kerala and western Tamil Nadu. It is usually found foraging in the canopy of the dense forests of high hills, hence the name wood pigeon. This bird prefers to live up to 1.39 mi (2,250 m) above sea level.

Who do Nilgiri wood pigeons live with?

They can be found alone, in pairs, or in flocks when foraging for fruit.

How long does a Nilgiri wood pigeon live?

The average life span of a Nilgiri wood pigeon is about three years. Although, the longest life span has been recorded as 17 years and nine months.

How do they reproduce?

Due to their vulnerable status, there is very little information regarding the reproduction of Nilgiri wood pigeons. Their breeding usually takes place from March to July. At this time, they construct a poor platform of tree twigs in the Western Ghats. The female lays one single white egg that is generally visible from below the nest.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Columba elphinstonii is listed as vulnerable species in IUCN.

Nilgiri Wood Pigeon Fun Facts

What do Nilgiri wood pigeons look like?

These wood pigeons have dark grey, black, and lightly maroon body coloration.

Nilgiri wood pigeons' body description includes dark grey with a distinctive black and white checkerboard pattern spot formed of white feathers on the dorsal part of the neck formed by black feathers with white tips. The face is also grey, and the mantle or upper parts consists of chestnut or purple maroon. The Nilgiri wood pigeon male has a paler grey crown, whereas the Nilgiri wood pigeon female has a darker grey crown. The latter also has a pale throat. Their feet and the base of the bill are red, but the upper tip is yellow. They are bluish-gray around the head and underparts and have a dark gray tail. Chicks and females are less glossy than males. This species is close to the Columba torrington (Ceylon woodpigeon) and Columba pulchricollis (ashy wood pigeon) in appearance. They create a clade which is the lowest within the Old World genus Columba. However, unlike its usual urban-related species, Columba Olivia (the rock pigeon), which is a common resident of towns, fields, and parks of urban areas, the Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) is a rare bird, also native to the Western Ghats in India. The Nilgiri wood pigeons' eggs are white in color.

How cute are they?

These pigeon birds of the Columbidae family, genus Columba, are cute and adorable. Their unique coloration from other pigeons makes them more attractive.

How do they communicate?

They communicate through their low-frequency call which resembles the loud hooting sound of a langur 'hoo-hoo-hoo.'

How big is a Nilgiri wood pigeon?

The length of Columba elphinstonii is 13.7-15.7 in (35-40 cm), which is four times bigger than a crested pigeon.

How fast can a Nilgiri wood pigeon fly?

Although the average flying speed of a pigeon is up to 77.6 mph, the Nilgiri wood pigeon's flying speed has not been estimated yet. The Nilgiri wood pigeon's flight movements and techniques are also unknown.

How much does a Nilgiri wood pigeon weigh?

The weight of a Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) is 13.4 oz (380 g), which is 10 times heavier and bigger than a cardinal bird.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female Nilgiri wood pigeons.

What would you call a baby Nilgiri wood pigeon?

Like other bird species, a baby Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) is generally known as a chick.

What do they eat?

The Nilgiri wood pigeon's diet mainly consists of fruits of different types. This family of birds forage on trees but sometimes eat fallen fruits and nuts on the ground. These birds mainly feed on fruits, snails, and other invertebrates like earthworms, spiders, and worms. They may help in the dispersal of fruit seeds in many forests. Apart from fruits, they also feed on berries, flowers, seeds, and buds.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous birds. In fact, they are cute like other pigeons.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, like other pigeon species, they can make a good pet. Unfortunately, their status is vulnerable, therefore, it is inadvisable to keep them as a pet.

Did you know...

This pigeon sometimes eats soil, which provides mineral nutrients and also aids in their digestion. There is no information on whether wood pigeons fight to the death.

Are Nilgiri wood pigeons endangered?

Previously, the Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) was hunted for fun and food. Presently, the most important hazard to this species is habitat destruction. The removal of land for farming and human settlements, coupled with the reduction of forest trees for combustible and constructing materials, has resulted in a huge drop among wooded areas within the Western Ghats. In Kerala alone, a stunning 47% of evergreen and semi-evergreen wooded regions were destroyed between 1961 and 1988, and the wooded area has been decreasing since then.

Many conservation activities and programs are occurring at this time for the conservation of these pigeons. They are rightfully protected in India and takes place in at least 16 secured regions, the largest in Kerala, inclusive of ten wildlife sanctuaries, three national parks, and one tiger reserve, and two reserve forests. A remote sensing program is organized to try to delimit the range and verify measures of woodland loss. Many conservation actions are also proposed for conservation in the future to make sure these localities are correctly safeguarded and develop sustainable exploitation of forests in the Western Ghats. This also includes promoting the safety of all types of habitat utilized by the species, including fruiting trees. Various campaigns have also been organized to support community-based conservation tasks concentrating on alternatives to deforestation and recuperation of troubled natural habitats within its range.

What's unique about Nilgiri wood pigeons?

They have a white and black patterned band on the back of the neck, which is unique among all pigeon species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our vesper sparrow facts and whiskered treeswift facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Nilgiri wood pigeon coloring pages.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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